Historical Plaque Properties


J F (Bob) Pearen - Barber
105 Front Street
Stratford, ON


Jonathan Fletcher Pearen was born in November 1873 in Chinguacousy Township which is now part of Peel Region. He was the son of Jonathan Fisher Pearen, a farmer in Peel region, and Mary Ann James. His grandfather, Joseph Pearen, a blacksmith, emigrated from England sometime before1841 when he married Mary Modeland.


Jonathan was raised on the farm and attended elementary school in Norval, Hamilton County. Later, he paid his own tuition and board in Toronto where he went to serve an apprenticeship to become a barber.


As his father was also named Jonathan, Jonathan Fletcher seemed to be commonly known as Fletcher. While serving his apprenticeship, a French instructor who could not manage the name Fletcher dubbed him “Bob”.  He was to be known as “Bob” by friends and clients alike for the rest of his life.


In 1894 Jonathan Fletcher moved to Guelph and by 1896, he was working as a barber for William Coon in a shop on St. George’s Square. According to the Guelph City Directory, he was boarding in the Western Hotel at this time.


Jonathan Fletcher Pearen married Henrietta Welsh on July 16, 1900 in Guelph. She was the daughter of the late William Welsh, a tailor, and Henrietta Welsh. At the time of her marriage, Henrietta was a clerk at Hills Brothers Bakery. The young couple remained in Guelph just long enough to be enumerated in the 1901 census there.


In July of 1901 they moved to Stratford where J F or Bob bought a barber shop on Ontario Street. Later, in 1927, he moved his shop to 11-13 Downie Street where he remained until his retirement in 1948. Bob saw the evolution of the barbershop from the 15 cent hair cut and 10 cent shave with a straight razor to the speed and efficiency of electric clippers.


Bob and Henrietta bought the new house at 105 Front Street in 1907. Here they raised their children, Frances and Alton. Later, Henrietta’s mother would come to live with them until her death in 1917.


Henrietta Welsh Pearen died in 1950. J F “Bob” died in 1967 at the age of 93. He was survived by two children, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Bob and Henrietta are buried in a mausoleum in Avondale Cemetery, Stratford.